Skip to comments.Norway's Definition of Insanity Is, Well...
Posted on 12/01/2011 2:11:55 PM PST by Kaslin
In AMC's zombie series, "The Walking Dead," tensions build between an old-fashioned veterinarian farmer, named Hershel Greene -- who thinks zombies have a disease that may be cured someday -- and a caravan of gun-packing refugees, led by Deputy Rick Grimes. Because Hershel wants to protect the zombies he has hidden in his barn, he orders Rick and company to leave his property -- even though leaving could make Rick, his family and his friends easy pickings for the undead.
It's disturbing how self-congratulatory humanitarians can be willing to endanger the lives of others in order to maintain their worldview.
In Norway, an insanity defense requires a defendant be psychotic -- so out of touch he cannot control his own actions -- while committing a crime. Somehow this week, two forensic psychiatrists determined that Anders Behring Breivik, 32, was insane when he methodically killed 77 people July 22.
Breivik has admitted that he set off a car bomb in Oslo, killing eight, and then gunned down 69 people, mostly teenagers, in an island summer camp. But he has refused to plead guilty on the grounds that his actions were "atrocious but necessary" in service to his crusade to "save" Europe from Marxism and a "Muslim invasion."
The maximum criminal sentence in Norway is 21 years -- although authorities can extend prison time for those deemed to be a danger to society. Thus, Breivik had reason to believe that disguised as a police officer, he could shoot up a camp full of teenagers, lay down his weapons and surrender -- and he still might go free in his 50s.
If the forensics board backs up the insanity finding, a court could commit Breivik to three years of psychiatric care. It's unlikely, but he could be out in his 30s.
In an email, University of Oslo psychology professor Svenn Torgersen explained, "At least every three years, he can be assessed. If he is non-psychotic, and in addition considered no threat to other people, he will be free, and no new court case. Yes, many psychiatrists and psychologists are surprised."
Prosecutor Svein Holden supported the "delusional" finding as he told reporters that Breivik's "thoughts and acts are governed by this universe." And: "He sees himself as chosen to decide who shall live and who shall die and that he is chosen to save what he calls his people."
Swedish forensic psychiatrist Anders Forsman, however, told The Associated Press: "It is difficult to see this as criminal insanity. He seems to have carried out the killings in a rational way. He is an efficient killing machine."
Consider these words from Breivik's terrorist manifesto: "Once you decide to strike, it is better to kill too many than not enough, or you risk reducing the desired ideological impact of the strike." For a man not in control of his thoughts or actions, he sure did what he wanted to do.
News accounts indicate that Norwegians could accept an insanity finding as long as Breivik spends the rest of his life in government custody. But Oslo deliberately prohibits life sentences, even for the most heinous crimes. Politicians boast about the nation's humane criminal justice system, with its commitment to redemption.
So why do I think Oslo's chosen experts have decided that Breivik was insane? They're so sublime that they don't know how to recognize evil.
Insanity is usually defined as behavior that is deviant from the norms of a society. The insane person has to stand out from the norm and be strikingly different. Some places, this is hard for someone most societies would consider insane to do. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
On the other hand, they do hunt a lot on the Hardinger (sp?) plateau and if Breivik were to go trekking up there well he might get better than 21 years.
This general concept originated at least as early as the Justinian Code, 6th century AD. Insanity is a positive defense so any person pleading insanity as a defense must prove his case. If successful he is committed for treatment at a forensic unit. He will be re-evaluated periodically for risk of doing further harm.
If he is found not to be a risk of re-offending he can be released, a free man, as in Norway, without further trial.